Born on 23rd February 1986, Switzerland’s Rahel Frey describes herself as an active person who always has to be doing something. Before she started her racing career, she tried out ballet, football, tennis and gymnastic. Fresh from her 3rd place in both races at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, she currently sits 3rd in overall classification in Audi R8 LMS Cup. She spoke to guest writer Sarah Sahadin about her love for racing, challenges she has face and her career so far, a day before the race day in Sepang.
Sarah Sahadin: When did you first get involved in motorsport?
Rahel Frey: I grew up around kart because my family have a car dealership back home, so that’s where is the interest comes from. My father brought me to go-kart, so I started in go-karting
SS: How supportive have your family been about your ambition to be in motorsport?
RF: As I said, the first step came from the family as they always support me. But mainly is my father, as well as my mother who is always behind my good performance in school so I had to do minimum A-levels which allowed me to racing.
SS: What do you love about racing?
RF: Everything! I love the speed, fight on the track, the team which I love to work with the mechanics, engineers to discuss how to make a car go quicker and how to improve myself all the time. So it’s a mix of everything.
SS: Please describe your racing career so far.
RF: I started in go-kart racing, then went to single-seaters – first was in the Formula Renault 2.0, International Formula Masters and then into ATS Formula 3 Cup (German Formula 3 Cup). I also did make a start in 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours in a Ford GT, and a year later I came to Audi for DTM. Since then, I’m in the GT3 programme with the marque.
SS: Have you encountered sexism in motorsport? If so, how do you deal with it?
RF: Not in a way that really affects me. I mean you’re always heard some jokes about female drivers can’t drive a car that is quick enough right? But, this is always be an extra motivation. When you’re quick, competitive enough and like to work to improve yourself to be on the top, they see you’re able to be quick and doing a good job. So then, you’re respected in motorsport even as a woman.
SS: What are your career goals?
RF: Always moving on to the next step!
SS: What advice would you give to women starting out on a motorsport career?
RF: Motorsport is really an expensive sport unfortunately, I have went from go-karts which need more money and sponsors. You have to bring a lot of effort in finding sponsors and everything, therefore you have to be tough anyway. But this doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy. For a girl, you just have to double prove yourself all the time as you have to work hard physically and deal with the men and boys to compete with them. So you have to be a really, really strong girl and need to know what you want, what you need to be fast, need to explain it to the people that want to understand you and for sure you have to convince them to support you.